Friday, December 23, 2011

{ As my Indian sun sets... }

As the sun sets on my Indian adventure, another sun will rise. 
I'll be in India again.
I have fallen in love with this beautiful country, the people, the rich culture.

More than anything, I think I will miss my dear, beautiful, sweet roommates, Katie and Sarah! Our silly jokes, silent moments of understanding, and all of the fun we have together! I consider them both some of my best friends. 
Sure, we'll see each other again, but it just won't be the same. 

Inside jokes...

"When in Rome!" *flip your wrist around in a circle motion*
"Excuuuuuse meh!"
"I'm alive!"

After being in India for so long, not too long, but long enough, I now enjoy the comfort of a little child running up and down aisles or the sound of a baby crying...

I have met so many incredible people during my time in India. 
Those that I will most dearly miss: The beautiful and incredible Anita-ji - I consider her one of my best friends :) And our sweet, dear Laxmi-ji, who always watched out for us, braided our hair, made our beds, put food in our bellies, brought us two beautiful children to play with (my sweet Geeta), and all of our incredible LDS Branch members, etc. I will miss them all dearly!

As my Indian sun sets...another sun will rise as the beauty of life continues to unfold itself in front of me. India, I love you.
You have stolen my heart.

Here are some of my favorite sunrises and sunsets from my incredible time in India. Those who know me know that I absolutely love the sun - sunrises, sunsets, the warmth, vitamin-d, etc. I love the Indian sun...the well-defined circle and brilliant bright oranges, yellows, and reds. I have never seen anything like it. 
India, je t'aime.

It looks like an impressionist painting. My favorite sunrise on the Ganges in Varanasi.

Another favorite sunset beneath a bed of clouds in the midst of the Himalayas.

Well, this is actually a sunrise but it was amazing!
Sunset in the city.

The beach.

Once again, in the Himalayas.

Nainital - hill station. Incredible city view with the sunset.
The lotus temple.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{ The hardest goodbyes... }

My hardest goodbye - we both just couldn't stop crying. I love and dearly miss my little Geeta (7).

INDIA was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
The people were my favorite.
And I grew to love Delhi as my home...

Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever done...
I love each and every person I met there as my own family.

My last week there was spent with the ones I love, moseying around the city of Delhi. I cherished every second.

As one of our last GNI's (Girls Night In) with our dear and bestest Indian friend, Anita-ji, we made some American-India dinner: Anita made mutter paneer (yum! yum!) and Sarah-ji made Bruschetta. Then, Anita brought us each some sweet, very thoughtful presents...

Our yummy GNI dinner!
Anita with our presents. She's wearing Sarah's shirt - yes, Sarah's a Ute and a traitor.
Then we made some caramel apples for dessert. 
We took a last-minute trip to Old Delhi to see the famous Red Fort, India's largest mosque, the Jama Masjid, on Friday Muslim prayer day - so cool - and Rajghat, Gandhi-ji's "grave," where his cremated remains are buried. This is the EXTRAORDINARY day I was speaking of a couple of weeks ago.
Red Fort
Jama Masjid and the onslaught of devoted Muslim men, women, and children as they approached God in weekly prayer at the mosque.

The coolest sight as we walked out of the mosque and into Old Delhi - we saw dozens of men with their taqiyah, or Muslim caps, proceeding into the city...
Gandhi's burial place.
A very peaceful resting's in a large, very beautiful park in Old Delhi. It was a bright day.
Saying goodbye to Mintu-ji, our favorite baiyyah at the office - he gave me a ride on his motorcycle one day :)
I had a spontaneous family party with my Laxmi-ji's (housekeeper) big family! We took lots of pictures. It was a warm day.

Laxmi's sister and new little nephew.

SOME of the children in her family :) Love them ALL!

My little Geeta and Ritika, Laxmi's children...
We celebrated Christmas in style with Santa Clause at the Branch Christmas party - too fun! I love all of our branch members.
I saw Elder Randall one last time and we bid adieu.
We stopped by the Lotus temple for a quick run was very spiritual and a great place for meditation! I quite enjoyed it...except for the fact that my passport and wallet were stolen here this day...

We finished Sarah's last day in Delhi with a rooftop lunch at our sweet Sister Asha's home...all with great friends - the Dhanpals, the Cleggs and the Maynards. It was so fun! I literally felt like I was on top of the world.
Love these little girls :) Anna and Mia Clegg.
And, we attended Laxmi's and her brother's baby shower on Sunday evening! It was a real party there in the slums of RK Puram Sector 12! 

Dancing with my Geeta :)
WE LOVE OUR LAXMI-JI!!! She's the best momma!
Geeta and her little cousin - love these little girls.
Perfect. Laxmi is wearing her husband's jacket...when we pointed it out, she had the biggest grin on her face and she was blushing like crazy! She has a love marriage and considers herself the happiest woman in the world :) You don't find such an affectionate gesture very often among the Indians...
Laxmi and her husband's best friend...Laxmi gave me that pretty yellow dupatta (scarf) - Laxmi looks scared but I promise she loves me!
Because I was fortunate enough to lose my wallet and passport (I wasn't always so enthusiastic but, I made the best of it), I got to spend lots of extra time with my little Geeta! I had 3 extra days :) Monday morning, we played and drew some pictures. 

We drew hearts on her hand with the names "Liz, Erika, Geeta, Katie, & Sarah" inside the hearts...her idea! And I have THE cutest video of her. Miss her.
I got to spend more time with my dear friend, Shyam. He invited me over to his home for Breakfast...his sister made parathas - yum! Can you send me some more?! 

His sweet sister cooking breakfast.
Shyam's sweet mom - she has the sweetest spirit of nearly everyone I've met (I say that a lot too but...there's a lot of good people in the world!)
And, on Wednesday before I left, I got to say goodbye to Shyam one last time on the famous bridge that connects Sector 12 & 13...I'm gonna miss this guy...
with my favorite girls, the Masseys.
They got me a "good deal" (common phrase in India) at the Sector 8 Market!
Henna, mehendi, anyone? I loved it. Perfect way to come home.

Carolin and Sherlin Massey - love these two.

My amazing hand artwork.

I love my Simmy! :)
And, we spent a Christmas evening with the Massey family. Seriously, I LOVE our LDS branch!
I got to say a real goodbye to Anita-ji at the Maitri office on Wednesday...both nearly crying.
On Wednesday, I went to Akshardam temple with the Maynards, the Cleggs, and our sweet Simmy - I love all of these guys! 
Simmy and Anna and I - we had too much fun together! :) Can you even believe Anna is only 9 - she's beautiful and so mature! Love love love this girl.
Sad for me to leave...I guess Anna wasn't too sad though? hahaha
And again, I spent some quality time with my Geeta. After she got out of school on Wednesday, I went and played with her for a few hours. 

Look at her cheese it! So cute. I love her little school uniform.
She took this picture. And it's one of my favorites :) She makes me happy! My heart hurts just thinking about her and how much I miss her.
FYI - this is an Indian birth certificate :)
Then, I came back again later Wednesday evening to say my final goodbye to Geeta, Laxmi-ji, and her little I walked in, Geeta hid her face in her hair and her hands...she wouldn't even look at me. Finally, after a few torturous minutes, I tickled her into my lap and we just held each other. Laxmi said something about me leaving and I just started crying softly...and then Geeta let go. We just held each other and cried. It was so hard to leave her. Will I see her again?

We were both sobbing. 

My favorite little kids - Himanshu and Geeta. 
Laxmi's family.
Laxmi was sad to see me go, too...we grew so close while I was there. She kept saying "Liz, don't cry! It's okay! We'll talk on computer." But I saw her crying a little bit too.
India will always be dear to my heart. I will never forget each of these incredible people that have changed my life forever.